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Stitching the West Back TogetherConservation of Working Landscapes$
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Susan Charnley, Thomas E. Sheridan, and Gary P. Nabhan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226165684

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226165851.001.0001

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Private Land Conservation Trends in The Western United States

Private Land Conservation Trends in The Western United States

(p.241) Spotlight 12.1 Private Land Conservation Trends in The Western United States
Stitching the West Back Together

Jon Christensen

Jenny Rempel

Judee Burr

University of Chicago Press

Since the 1990s, more private rural land in the West has been conserved by state and local land trusts than has been converted to development. Even as the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund suffered a 38% budget cut from 2005 to 2010, private non-profit land trusts grew dramatically. Land trusts now protect 47 million acres, more than twice the area protected by all the national parks in the lower 48 states. California, Colorado, and Montana have the most private land conserved in the West. Still, the amount of unprotected, undeveloped rural land dwarfs the amount protected by land trusts in all western states. How much private conservation continues to expand will depend on such factors as lagging effects of the recession, continued support of tax incentives for conservation easements to land trusts, and what happens to the limited remaining federal conservation funding.

Keywords:   land trusts, Land and Water Conservation Fund, rural land, private conservation, tax incentives, conservation easements

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